Monday, July 27, 2009

Coasting...on coasters

Tonight was one of those nights that I needed to sew or I would fall asleep, but yet I did not have the mental energy to do anything too complex.

So I coasted - I pieced a few more Halloween blocks, worked on some fabric baskets, and actually finished six fabric coasters...

No pictures, though... sorry.

Finishing up some chocolate marshmallow ice cream and calling it a night.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Some of it was on the list...

Shop hopping is a dangerous adventure - even if you start with a list (which I did), you run the risk of wiping out most of the things on your list at the first store (which I did) and then you get into impulse buying - cause of course you can't go into a quilt shop and then not buy anything at all - that just wouldn't be right.

I started the day, much like last year, with a quick stop off for gas, a run through the PO to mail something to my folks and favorite pizza guy, and to the local grocery store for some travel munchies.

Again I arrived at the first shop before it was supposed to be opened. Luckily for me - they were teaching a class so the staff was already there and the doors were already open and they all said "come on in" (ironically they were teaching a "stack-n-whack" class!!!)

I was on a 3 part quest during this shop hop - fabric for my Halloween quilt, fabric for a baby quilt (looking for a very specific fabric line with turtles in it) and turtle body fabric for another quilt (last year I picked up turtle shell fabrics on my hop - so this year I wanted to take care of the bodies.

I found 2 of the 3 at this first shop. The orange, black, purple and lime green are for the Halloween quilt - you can see them pictured with one of the smaller blocks laid on top. I have a fun plan for the backing - I will unveil that once it is all together - and hope to use the black polka dot for the binding as well, if there is enough left (that was the end of the bolt, so I need to cut carefully).

The only fabric they had of the line I wanted for the baby quilt is the lotus flower. The brown "reptile skin" is for my turtle bodies (I am keeping those the same and changing out the shells), and the other two are just for my stash.

The best part? Besides the STELLAR customer service and friendly atmosphere - was the "Christmas in July" coupon that got me 25% off everything.

By 10:35 I was back on the road again. It was a bit drizzly, but not bad. I soon learned that the interstate was under construction, so I took the secondary road instead - I had not been down that route since childhood, and it was kind of fun to slow down and see the scenery as I drove through river valley farmland.

I arrived at my second stop around 11:15. They were doing a Christmas in July demo day, so the parking lot was full. The EMT vehicle in the parking lot made me a bit nervous, but one of the attendees had gotten woozy and they were getting her checked out.

I was less successful here on the list -they did not carry the baby quilt fabric line at all, and since my other list items were already checked off, I started into dangerous territory - stash browsing. I picked up a tiger print FQ since the school I work at is the Tigers (as is one of my alma maters).

This store had a different way of selling their remnants that are too small for FQ's. I have seen other stores sell them priced per inch (though if you do the math sometimes they are still close to $9/yard) - but this store sold them by the pound - $4.50/lb, with a 1 lb. minimum. And most of these were just shy of 1/4 yard x WOF - only a few were narrower or not full WOF cuts.

There was a digital scale right next to the basket of remnants, so just out of curiosity I picked out a few and put them on the scale - 1/4 lb. So I added a few more - and a few more - and a few more - until I was at 1.03 lbs. My plan was to use these for some different baskets for my craft show - and there were even some good big pieces to use for linings (some of these have already been cut and prepped for this purpose). These are all the pretties!!!

It was probably about 12:15 when I left there and headed to shop #3 - Sew Pieceful Quilt and Gift Shop. I drove through a bit more construction - on the highway this time - and had my lunch. Once again I was foiled in my quest for the baby quilt fabric - so browsed their large selection of novelties, looking for fabrics that were calling my name.

These were not necessarily calling "my" name, but can be used for some projects for other people The light floral FQ 2nd from the bottom will be used in my blocks for the Cancer Survivor Celebration. It was the closest I could come to pearl -and will get paired with some pink.

The ladies in this shop are a hoot. They had just ordered their lunch - looked like chicken fingers and fries - and were eating as I browsed. I joked that since I seem to be making this an annual thing, and seem to get to their shop right around lunch time (did last year, too) that I should call in my lunch order ahead and eat with them. The owner's response - "sure!" I love quilters!!!

My 4th stop was a new one - or was supposed to be. I was going to drive 10 miles past my ultimate destination and go to The Village Sampler. I had my map and directions all printed out and it looked pretty easy -until I got off the exit and the map route showed one way, but the instructions and the signs showed another. I could not find street names on the sign posts and got all twisted around. I finally saw the route number of the road I needed to be on to get to my final destination, turned around to head west instead of east, and called my mobile GPS (Hubby at his computer) to be sure I could get there from here - so never did find the shop. Turns out that I was right next to it at one point but so focused on the roads and finding my way that I did not even see it. Oh well -maybe next year.

So instead I headed into Corning. My meeting started at 3:00, and I parked the car at 2. I quickly walked over to my "stop #5" -now #4.

Here I picked out some great novelties for the Munchkin (and Hubby), a fun one for me - and a great swirl to use as a background for some of my turtle applique blocks.

This shop was about 4 blocks away from my meeting place - it's one of those "Market Streets" in a touristy city with lots of boutiques, cafes, ice cream shops, antique shops, and more. All old buildings and storefronts with lots of character. I crossed over the street and headed back on the other side, remembering there was a cool antique shop on one of the corners on my way back (sorry Terri, I did not have time to walk further in the other direction to hit that bead shop we read about).

So as I am window shopping on my way back (bypassing the homemade fudge -that took willpower) - and come across none other than a stamping store!!! One that was not there last year (I guess they used to be above the aforementioned bead shop but moved shortly after I was through town last year).

I have not been in the market for much in the way of stamping supplies of late - The Mercantile keeps me pretty well stocked, and I have been slacking in the stamping activity department anyway so really could not justify purchasing much there.

I did pick up a few stickers for two of my favorite kids (the Munchkin and his cousin DragonBen), some big funky buttons good for a few projects I have in the works, and a couple of other little doodads that will find their way into a little gifty I have in mind.

So I made it back 5 minutes before the meeting started, and about 15 minutes before the sky opened up! It was clear and muggy by the time I left to head home, and after a quick stop for dinner along the way I got home around 9:45. I would have stopped at the local JoAnn's - especially since I noticed on their sign that they are moving and having a moving sale - but I forgot which exit and by the time I figured it out I would have had to go 4 more miles down the highway to turn around and go back. I was getting tired, so I decided I had done enough for the day.

But now I know that exit number -for next year.

Quilting for a reason

One of my local quilt shops, and the first stop on my shop hop yesterday, is having a Cancer Survivor Celebration in August. I can't attend due to the Churchville Lions Club Country Fair, but asked yesterday about mailing blocks in to be included, and the answer (of course) was yes.

So if you are interested in making blocks to be included in this celebration (click on the link for info) - please feel free to send them either to me (email me for mailing address) or directly to the shop (Mt. Pleasant Quilting Company - 2877 Mt. Pleasant Road, York, New York 14592).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shop Hop, Skip and Punt...

Five quilt shops planned - one visit aborted when my map did not match the actual turns. No GPS this trip, so I called Hubby to make sure the road I was on would get me to where I needed to be for my meeting (I was afraid to try to backtrack to the highway - thought I would get more lost) - and just headed there - and to shop #4.... and then a new discovery.

Photos and details to follow tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tomorrow's Plans

Tomorrow is the second annual "One Woman Five Shop Hop"

One of the shops I stopped at last year was in the process of closing, but I found another shop that only adds about 20 miles to my overall round trip (it is just 10 miles beyond my key destination) - so time permitting I will be adding that to my route.

Watch for a post hop report -

(oh - and yes - one of my target items is yardage to make a TURTLE baby quilt for the new baby boy next door - you didn't think I was going to try a hop with no turtles, did you???)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Current Obsessions

For a couple of years now I have been interested in doing a Stack-n-Whack type quilt. Lazy Sister Sue had shown me some she had done a few years back and I liked the effect, but once we moved so far away from my quilt teacher, I had kind of put it on the back burner and had not pursued finding a class locally.

When I went to the Peeps Retreat in April, we did a book and pattern swap among the peeps, each of us bringing things we no longer wanted and placing them on a big table up for grabs.

I was so excited to find this book in the mix - this looked to be another authors version of the technique - which basically consists of cutting your fabric in rectangles so that the pattern repeat fills each rectangle, stacking up 8 layers so that the pattern aligns through all 8 layers, and then cutting out wedges that are then assembled into octagons.

This book was the gentle nudge I needed to get my mind back on doing this technique - it became one of those nagging things in the back of my mind, even as I worked on many many other projects.

One hitch to my plan was that I am working on tight pursestrings where fabric purchasing is concerned -and the quantity needed for me to "experiment" with a new technique was a bit daunting. A few chunks I had in my stash that I thought would be good for this were too small.

Then last Sunday (the 12th) a new quilting buddy came over for a few hours - it was her first visit to my workspace - and as we swapped ideas and chatted and I cut a few chunks of fabric to share with her, I unearthed FIVE YARDS of fabric that I had forgotten I had. FIVE YARDS of fabric that I purchased in a trip to Hobby Lobby in SC with Lazy Sister Sue nearly 2 years ago. FIVE YARDS of fabric that to this point I had no real plan for. FIVE YARDS of Halloween Spirit craziness... I had finally found my fabric!!!

So not long after Shellie left, I got to measuring and cutting and stacking and aligning and cutting some more - and soon had piles and piles of triangles just waiting to be assembled. Most would end up in 8" blocks -the rest in 4" (and I even scraped a few 3" blocks out of the scraps).

And then the magic began - especially in the centers of the blocks...

Witch hats turned into flower centers...

Witch hat brims and hair turned into "venus flytraps" ...

...or swirling fire spirals...

I never knew quite from the wedges how the final block would turn out - it was hard to visualize what the seam allowance would eliminate from the final effect - especially in the centers.
I thought I was going to lose the one-eyed witch in this one, but she surprised me and still peeks out from the middle

Still working from my stash, I decided to add the yellow corners to each block to form the square - since the yellow is the least dominant color in the original fabric. I am going to try to pick up some black, blue, purple, orange and lime fabrics to do some borders, sashing and other accents both front and back, but I have not yet figured out my final block arrangement.

Oh - the little ones are fun, too - the witch face is not so dominant in those due to the small size, so they get more "abstract".

I just love how the colors shift and change from block to block -and how quickly these go together.

I hope to have this completely done soon (at least by Halloween!)- other projects are patiently waiting in the wings - but don't think for a second that I have this technique entirely out of my system yet. The magic has just begun!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tales from the Fabric Store...

..actually to give my Hubby credit -he is pretty good in the store, and in giving me fabric combo opinions and feedback. I often will send him and the Munchkin on a quest elsewhere in the store to keep the little guy from getting restless (and the big guy, too) -especially when I have to wait at the cutting counter.

Hmmm - we will be near a JoAnn's while running errands tonight... wonder if they will mind if we just stop in for a browse??!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

Having a Ball with Baskets

I 'should' be working on two totes for two of my sisters. Instead, I am doing this...

I 'should' be working on straightening the house for tomorrow's influx of partiers (although I hope we will all be able to stay outside). Instead, I am doing this...

I got back into these little baskets when Sister Terri was here, and since they are quick and easy instant gratification. (...and all out of odds and ends of scraps, including recycling Hubby's old jeans!)

OK - maybe making NINE was a bit too much gratification??? (and I have a few more cut out and ready to go, as well as a handful that are partially assembled...)

And while I was at it I threw in a couple coasters for good measure...

(I also did laundry, pruned 2 shrubs, deadheaded a killer rosebush, scattered eggshells in my veggie garden, and built a train layout for the Munchkin - so it was all in all a VERY productive day!)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Family Crafts

I've said it before - I am a child in a crafty family... so what do we do when we get together and visit? We make things.

The top basket I made for Sister Cindy and the bottom one I showed Sister Terri how to make - for herself. The buttons are old ones Sister Cindy gave me from an old button box.

We also made lots and lots and lots of good memories from this week.